The top storyline of the 2022 NBA offseason was Kevin Durant’s trade request, but the Brooklyn Nets never got the offer they wanted for his services.
Durant requested the trade less than three months after the Nets were humiliated by the Boston Celtics in a four-game sweep during opening round play. The request also came three years after Durant changed the NBA landscape by joining Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.
In August, Durant walked back on his trade request and agreed to return to the Nets for the 2022-23 season. Things haven’t exactly gone as expected, however, as the team sits at 6-9 through 15 games.
During an interview with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, Durant went into detail about why he sought a trade from a team that has greatly underachieved under his tenure:
“It wasn’t difficult at all to request a trade because it was about ball. I went to them and was like, ‘Yo, I don’t like how we are preparing. I don’t like shootarounds. I like practices. I need more. I want to work on more s–t. Hold me accountable…I want to do more closeouts. I want to work on more shell drills at practice.’
Durant emphasized that he was trying “to make everybody else’s life easier,” and that he sought more “closeout drills” and practices. The two-time NBA Champion felt as though “nobody was on” the same vibe as him, hence why he sought a trade:
“I wasn’t feeling that, and nobody was on that same vibe with me. Jacque Vaughn is. I had some complaints in the summer, and my complaints were not about just me; it was about how we are moving as a unit. I want us to be respected out here in the basketball world. I don’t want players to look at us and say, ‘Oh man, these (expletive) are full of s–t. That’s not the type of team I want to be on.’ So when we’re all playing like s–t, you know the one person they’re going to look at. That’s why I requested a trade.”
The Nets parted ways with head coach Steve Nash following an ugly 2-5 start. Vaughn, who has been with the organization since 2016, was named the interim head coach.
The team has improved slightly under Vaughn’s watch (4-4), but they’re obviously nowhere close to fulfilling their potential. This is a team that boasts three bonafide superstars in Durant, Irving and defensive stalwart Ben Simmons, after all.
Durant has certainly done his part in trying to keep the Nets in the playoff race. The 34-year-old is averaging 30.3 points, 5.3 assists and 6.5 rebounds per game. Simmons and Irving have combined to play just 18 games, but once the trio is back on the court together, there’s no telling how far the Nets could go.
Brooklyn returns to action on Thursday evening with a road game against the Portland Trail Blazers.